EU Referendum Series #3| Interview: Brexit Would Be Good For International Students

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This series is being run by a young Brit who lived in Belgium for 19 years and now resides in Cardiff, known on theSprout as Ironfoot. The aim? To inform and involve other young people in this once-in-a-generation debate from many important and interesting perspectives. See bottom to get involved!

The EU Referendum is just around the corner and will decide the future fate for Britain on its European Union Membership, with team Brexit (BritishExit) wanting to leave the EU and team Pro-EU wishing to stay. With less than 60 days to go, there are still a lot of questions to be answered, especially on what will happen to the international students if the UK leaves the European Union.

Background, introduction and case study below, followed by interview snippets.

Case Study – From India’s Capital to Wales’: Our Interviewee, Shubham Kotkar

Recently, I interviewed an international student from India called Shubham Kotkar, who studies Civil Environment Engineering at Cardiff University. Shubham is originally from New Delhi, the capital of India. He is one of thousands of international students who come to Cardiff to gain a British education to pursue getting a job either in the UK or worldwide. At the beginning of the interview, he told me:

“Since I am studying civil engineering, I would like to work in the infrastructure development sector. So, I have a placement next year in the UK and, depending on how it goes, I would like to gain more experience in the UK. But, I have plans to do my masters in the United States in project management. So, after I graduate I will go to America to do my masters.”

His aim is to receive his training and gain professional experience in the UK and, hopefully, in the future, he wants to work in developing countries in Asia, like India or China, where there are more opportunities for engineering projects going on. He states, “If I want to change and go into business or start my own business, there are more opportunities in India and in South East Asia; Asian countries in general.”

India: An Introduction

India has a population of 1.2 billion people and is a fast growing country. Over the last couple of years, the poverty rate has fallen drastically to 12.7%, and it is regarded as one of the growing world superpowers, like China. With a large middle-class population, there are young adults like Shubham who want to get the best education possible, and Cardiff University is one of the top universities in the world that can provide the resources and the opportunities at the moment.

The UK’s International Students

Unlike British or EU students, international students pay roughly around £15,000 to £24,000 per year in UK universities, including in Cardiff. The majority of these students come from India and China and study Science and Technology subjects, for example, Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry, Civil Engineering and ICT. The attendance of these students is helping the local economy and it is one of the reasons why Cardiff University is one of the best universities in the country and also in the world. But, the real question is: will the EU referendum have a bad impact on students like Shubham or will it be an opportunity?

The Interview

I asked Shubham if he would be affected by the EU referendum if Brexit gets the vote. He told me:

“It doesn’t affect me right now if the UK is in the EU or not since I need a visa to go to the Schengen regions anyway and the currency is different. So, for me, it is the same, but if the UK leaves the EU and if the pound goes down, it will be beneficial for me now since I have to pay my fees and my reprise. But, if I start earning then it will be bad for me.”

At the moment, the [Pound] Sterling is stable; it remains stronger than the Euro and the US dollar. But, according to the Telegraph back on 22nd February, “The value of the pound plunged to a near seven-year low against the dollar after Mr Johnson (Boris Johnson) backed a “Brexit””.

What we can understand from this is Brexit will highly likely impact the economy if the UK leaves the EU and reforms its EU trade deal. The most likely outcomes still remain fuzzy and uncertain, but if the Pound Sterling does go down, it could be bad for the local economy but also very beneficial for international students like Shubham because the costs will be somewhat more affordable – since living in the UK is a very expensive investment.

[Related: EU Referendum Series | Interview: What Will Happen To The EU Students If Brexit Wins?]

Will Indian students continue to study in the United Kingdom if Brexit happens?

I then asked Shubham if Indian students will continue to study in the United Kingdom because of the reputations of the universities or will they go to other universities in Europe if Brexit happens. He answers:

“One of the interests in coming to the UK is because of the language. We don’t have to learn another language, but if we want to go to another European country, we have to learn the language there or have the basic knowledge of it. But, there are students keen on going to these universities in Europe because they are into research and they will learn. But, most of the students will still come to the UK because of the language, but it all depends on the Pound, as I say. But, it is also about the economic conditions.”

So, as he says, it’s likely to all rest on what will happen to the UK economy within the next few months.

[Related: EU Referendum Series | Interview: What Will Happen To The Science & Research Sectors Without The EU Grants?]

Economic opportunities if Brexit happens

Shubham is my first interviewee to agree with Brexit being a good thing, so also explains to me the opportunities for the UK if they decide to ditch trade with Europe and focus more on investments with India. He says:

“If they leave the EU, they will have more choice in other parts of the world and mostly in the Asian countries. Since they get the same goods cheaper and there is competition between the countries, they can just negotiate a deal. They will be not tied to export or import with the European countries here. So, since they have more choice, they will start trading more with India and China.”

The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi visited the UK last November to strengthen economic ties between the UK and India and open a new direction for the future if the UK decides to leave the European Union. If the fifth biggest economy in the world (the UK) decides to move away from the European Union, its only real option is to increase trade with India and China, in my opinion.

(If you wish to listen to the full interview, please watch the video).

This project is being co-ordinated by a young British-Italian living in Cardiff and is being facilitated by theSprout’s Sub-Editor, Tom. If you would like to write, conduct interviews, be interviewed, become a camera or photography assistant, or more, please feel free to email

Sub-Editor’s note: Here’s a snippet from theSprout’s new Info page on Voting:

Too young to vote?

You can still influence society, decision-makers and the people around you. Think about it:

  • Has anyone ever influenced you in a conversation or everyday discussion?
  • Have you ever considered joining groups like Cardiff Youth Council?
  • Have you ever heard of Bite The Ballot (Tinie Tempah has…)?
  • Did you know you can be heard at a national level by Welsh Government ministers and policy-makers by joining Young Wales?!

Related Film & All Series Articles:

Exclusive Film: The UK’s Relationship With The EU

EU Referendum #1 | Interview: What Will Happen To The Science & Research Sectors Without The EU Grants?

EU Referendum #2 | Interview: What Will Happen To The EU Students If Brexit Wins?

EU Referendum #3 | Interview: Brexit Would Be Good For International Students

EU Referendum #4 | Interview: Why British Expats In Europe Should Be Given The Vote

EU Referendum #5 | Interview: How Will The Arts & Disabilities In Cardiff Be Impacted?

EU Referendum #6 | Brussels Tour | Interview: NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General For Emerging Security Challenges, Dr Jamie Shea

EU Referendum #7 | Brussels Tour | Interview: Chief Executive, The British Chamber Of Commerce In Belgium, Glenn Vaughan

EU Referendum #8 | Brussels Tour | Interview: ‘The EU: Political, Institutional and Constitutional Reform’, Prof. Martin Westlake

EU Referendum #9 | Interview: How Will The Erasmus Programme Be Impacted By The EU Referendum?

EU Referendum #10 | Brussels Tour | Interview: Chairman, The Welsh Society In Brussels, Rhodri Thomas

EU Referendum #11 | Brussels Tour | Interview: NATO Editor, Paul King: “In My Opinion, Brexit Damaging For The UK”

EU Referendum #12 | Brussels Tour | Interview: Mark Laity (NATO’s SHAPE): “War Will Always Come To You!”

EU Referendum #13 | Brussels Tour | “EU Funding Has Transformed Wales” – Welsh Expat & Ex-Civil Servant In Agriculture & Economy, Andrew Aggett

EU Referendum #14: Interview: Derek Vaughan, Labour MEP

EU Referendum #15 | Brussels Tour | Potential Brexit Impacts On NATO – Interview With Ian Stallion, NATO’s Nuclear Deterrent Department

Image credit: wikimedia commons

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